Erika Millon is well versed in the power of diversity. She carries it with her everyday.
Erika, who was recently promoted to senior principal engineer, reflects on how her life experiences, multiethnic background and military upbringing shaped who she is today.
Q: Where did you grow up?
Erika: I grew up in a military family. Both of my parents were in the Navy. I was born in Virginia, started school in Panama, spent time in St. Louis and Woodbridge, near Quantico, primarily… I grew up all over the country. As an adult, I still have that mindset… it seems like every few years I’m ready for some kind of life change!
Q: How long have you been with Baxter?
Erika: Three years. I moved here from New Orleans – which is where I started my engineering career. I stayed there longer than expected because my house flooded during a hurricane… but, I did meet my husband during that time, and am obviously happy about that. When we were ready to try a new city, Chicago was the perfect place for us, and that’s how I found Baxter.
Q: What’s your role at Baxter?
Erika: For the last three years, I've been known as the "IV set girl" – I supported the Medication Delivery business, working a lot with IV solutions. I've actually just been promoted to senior principal engineer, and will be supporting our businesses on a global level. I'm very excited.
Diversity is all I know. Until I was older, it was hard for me to understand the issues of the world. So now, everywhere I go, I make an effort to talk with new people, share my story, and learn about theirs.
Erika Millon, senior principal engineer
Q: What does workplace flexibility mean to you?
Erika: At the end of 2017, I was diagnosed with lupus. It had started getting difficult for me to traverse the stairs, and I was really fatigued all the time. I had no idea what was going on. After the diagnosis, I knew I had to make changes to maintain my health. I talked with my manager to let him know what was going on… we’ve always talked about the importance of transparency. I’m so thankful to have the flexibility to work from home when I need to, allowing my body to rest. This has allowed me to manage my chronic condition while still being assertive with my career aspirations and find a work life balance.
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
Erika: I enjoy spending time with my family, volunteering and traveling. I’m also an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), an organization I’ve grown up with. I’m now Programs Chair of the organization’s Healthcare Innovation Special Interest Group and it’s an awesome way to build mutually beneficial relationships with people in the healthcare space. My involvement with NSBE outside of work has afforded me the opportunity to manage Baxter’s external partnership with the organization, exposing us to networking and talent that can help drive diversity and innovation, and providing opportunities for more community engagement and involvement, which I know a lot of my colleagues like.
Q: What else are you passionate about?
Erika: Helping others realize and achieve their greatest potential and promoting diversity. Diversity is all I know! Until I was older, it was hard for me to understand the issues of the world. So now, everywhere I go, I make an effort to talk with new people, share my story, and learn about theirs.